Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives.”
— BBC Sport
No surprises for guessing the batsman being referred to here. Taking a completely different route from Hindi Cinema’s current obsession with biopics on sports athletes (Paan Singh Tomar, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Azhar and MS Dhoni- The Untold Story), writer and director James Erskine adapts a documentary-style filmmaking that highlights one of India’s greatest batsmen’s journey from ebb to soaring success.
From his passion for the game of cricket to his first match in 1988, Sachin– A Billion Dreams is a compelling and fascinating drama that has enough moments to give you goosebumps. It not only showcases the demeanor of Tendulkar on the pitch, the umpteen records that he created and how the entire nation came to a standstill when he was struggling with his ‘Nervous 90’s’, but also portrays what lies beneath that selfless and skillful batsman.
As the docu-drama moves forward, we get a gripping insight to his emotional palpability, ceaseless avidity for the game and an unshakable bond with his family, particularly his children, Sara and Arjun Tendulkar. In one of the key moments in the film, Anjali Tendulkar gives an impassioned account of the times when the Indian Cricket Team was its lowest echelon, and how it gave her husband sleepless nights.
Also featured in the film are his team members, right from Dhoni to Sehwag to Yuvraj Singh, each of them fervidly recounting those cherished memories of playing with the Master Blaster.
It shall be incorrect to measure this film on the canvas of commerce or star ratings. It’s an ode, straight from the heart, to one of India’s most loved and admired sports athletes. It’ll be equally fallacious to reveal all the details of his incentivizing and roller-coaster voyage. All that can be said is that if you’ve ever seen the sport of cricket and rooted for India, Sachin- A Billion Dreams would be your perfect weekend watch, not as mere a film, but a rousing and exhilarating trip to nostalgia.
After all, his retirement speech in 2013 was perhaps the last time the entire nation forgot their respective religion, caste, creed and unified as Indians. This was and will always be the power of Sachin Tendulkar, still fulfilling a billion dreams.